Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thailand Day #2 - and tsunami evacuation!

So to start of my blog today I just wanted to show you our dinner from last night. We ended up waiting almost 2 1/2 hours for this food to be delivered from a restaurant about 5 minutes drive away. We were seriously STARVING by 9:30pm when we ate in our room. But the food was really delicious, thankfully. And cheap. Derren had red beef curry and beef fried rice. We shared a green mango salad appetizer, and I had green vegetable curry (SOOOO spicy even though it was mild...Thai food is killing me!) and rice.

This morning we decided to get up and go for a bike ride first thing in the morning. We rented bikes (for free) from the Fitness center, got a map and a mobile phone from them, and hit the road. We were able to take a ride around a nearby lake, and then explore into the village near the resorts.

Here is the first set of local eateries that we encountered. Derren obviously wanted to check out their menus (none were even really open yet since it was only about 9am). After checking these places out, he declared them "too dirty." This is REALLY hard to do in Derren's book, so you can imagine what these places were like...

I have a bad habit of taking pictures of dogs in Asia. They are so cute and they lounge around and do their own thing. Check this one out...chilling near the lake. What a life!

Here's one of me (and a tiny bit of Derren's head) as we were going around the lake:

And a view of this really pretty lake. It's literally like a three minute walk from this lake to the beach. And it took us about 10-15 minutes to ride all the way around the lake. We did see a whole herd of water buffalo hanging out nearby too!

After going around the lake, we headed off the paved road to a dirt/sand road that connects to the local village. We had a really good time checking out all the REALLY local food, markets, houses, etc. Derren kept wanting to get off the bikes and check out the markets and eateries. At this place he was attempting to talk to these boys and ask them what was in their baked goods that they were selling. We ended up buying two of them (5 baht each - only 15 cents) and they were coconut and red bean pastry type things.

And here's another dog pic. :) This one was hanging out in one of the markets we went into:

And in that market we bought a bottle of ice cold coke. We were so sweaty, and this coke tasted AMAZING.

As we were headed back to the resort, Derren wanted to go check out the beach - I thought this was a cool picture:

After we got back, we chatted some more with the Fitness Center workers, and they gave us some suggestions about what to eat at a local place right outside our resort - this is where all the employees go on their lunch break! She wrote down in thai what we wanted to eat so that we could just show it to them. And then another one of the employees went to the employee canteen and got some SPICY papaya salad for Derren to try for free - he seriously is able to sweet talk pretty much anything! So we then went back to our room and changed into our bathing suits (after Derren had eaten his papaya salad), and then we headed to the beach for some sun and swimming.

After we got our fill of sun, we headed outside the resort gates to the eatery that we had seen on our bike ride and gotten food suggestions from the Fitness employees. Here's what this place looked like:

And while we were waiting for our food, this guy rode up and we bought some Thai ice cream (glutinous rice with ice cream and peanuts (only 30 cents!) This was SO yummy and I can't wait to have it again. It was also refreshing since we had been waiting for about 15 minutes in the heat for our food.
Yummy Thai ice cream for 30 cents!

And this is what we ended up with for lunch (we got it to go so we could eat in the comfort of the air conditioning in our room). It is rice with fried beef (derren) and vegetables (me) with a fried egg on top. It was SO good! Derren had also order Tom Yum soup (not in picture) so he definitely had some leftovers! This all cost us about 300 baht (which is more than twice as much as what they charge the locals we were told! They always charge foreigners more.)

After lunch we headed to the pools for some more sun and reading/relaxing. While we were sitting in these seats we got to watch two of the elephants that frequent the resorts. This one is Yaya, and she is about 18 months old:

And this is an older elephant that is the one we saw bathe in the ocean the day before:

While we were sitting watching the ocean, I felt some shaking in my lounge chair. Derren swore it was just the wind. We later found out that is was in fact the Indonesia earthquake that I was feeling!
We had headed back to our room around 4:30pm with plans to head to the nearby shopping center to go to a pub for buy one get one free drinks, and then grab some food to go for me, and head back to the room so Derren could eat all of his leftovers from the past meals! However, when we arrived at the shopping center, there was an alarm going off and there was NO ONE there, and everything was closed. Weird, huh? Some other tourist told us it was probably a tsunami drill which was common for the area. However, we were soon informed by a nearby hotel employee that it was NOT a drill and that we should immediately head to the sixth floor of a nearby hotel. We then realized that there were buses full of hotel employees and locals heading out of the resort area to more inland areas. We followed other guests and employees up to the sixth floor where we learned more about the earthquake and that we'd have to wait to find out if a tsunami was a possibility. Here we are with our free drinks that the hotel manager gave us (not quite the "drinks" we were hoping to enjoy at the pub together! (and you can see all the other people in the hallway behind us):

We spent more than an hour and a half in the hallways of the sixth floor (outdoors mind you!) until it seemed like it was probably going to be fine based on what people were able to obtain from online sources. So we decided to go back to our room and watch CNN and see if we needed to be worried. When we got back to our hotel, this is what we saw in the lobby:

Everyone had been evacuated from the beach and pool areas and from the first and second floors. Even though our room is on the second floor, we headed back to it to get some info off the internet and TV. Since basically everything at the hotel and nearby had been shut down, we had no real food options at the time, so Derren ate his leftovers and we both ate a cup of noodles dinner (nice.) Then we got ready to head back to the sixth floor just to be sure, but soon found out that the tsunami warning had been lifted - thankfully!
Now we are going to just chill in our room and watch TV. Hopefully everything will be back to normal tomorrow!

Ashley & Derren

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